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Eliza Chan: Nova Scotia Vol 2 Anthology. Pre-Order Available Now!

Image of the author Eliza Chan
Eliza Chan by Sandi Hodkinson - Nova Scotia Vol 2

Nova Scotia Vol 2 anthology, edited by Neil Williamson and Andrew J. Wilson, is now available for pre-order! It celebrates the depth and breadth of Scotland's dazzling science fiction and fantasy landscape from its haunted islands to its transformed cities and everything in between. Jenni Coutts created the gorgeous cover art.

You can order the book on its own, or buy the bundle anthology deal - both from the Luna store.

Today we'd like to introduce you to Eliza Chan and the story "When You Are The Hammer, Strike".

About the author:

Eliza Chan is a Scottish-born speculative fiction author who writes about East Asian mythology, British folklore and reclaiming the dragon lady. Her debut novel FATHOMFOLK — inspired by mythology, East and Southeast Asian cities and diaspora feels — was published by Orbit in February 2024. Her short fiction has been published in The Dark, Podcastle, Fantasy Magazine and The Best of British Fantasy. 

She has been a medical school drop-out, a kilt shop assistant, an English teacher and a speech and language therapist, but currently spends her time tabletop gaming, cosplaying, crafting and toddler wrangling. Find out more on her website

Eliza on the story:

"When You Are the Hammer, Strike" was inspired by villain hitting, a folk tradition still practised in Hong Kong today. Although it sound quite terrifying, the act of cursing one’s enemies is carried out mostly by older women in a gloomy underpass, using an old shoe to beat a name written on paper. Many folk traditions are alive and well within the Cantonese community and are not seen as being at odds with science and technological advances. 

Just as villain hitting is associated with older women, witchcraft in general is also. The connotations of this are many. Whilst other forms of magic are seen to be more academic, taught at magic school through books, witchcraft is usually seen as more humble. Self-taught. Petty. Personal. Playing into all the gendered biases that women, especially older childless women, no longer attractive and fertile, are these petty, gossipy vindicative types. 

In the world of "When You Are the Hammer, Strike", women inherit witchcraft down the family line: both a power and a curse they cannot choose to opt out of. I had a lot of fun writing about white haired witches, traditional fortune tellers and nine-tailed foxes, but most of all, I wanted to write about this obscure villain hitting tradition. I was interested in the burden of an archaic and somewhat embarrassing type of witchcraft on someone who wants a more modern life. I am often drawn to this fascinating juxtaposition of new and old as well as the conflicted intergenerational feelings towards respect for tradition versus individual wants and needs.

My protagonist is not the demure Asian woman. Despite the rhetoric, most of the Asian women I have met are strong: physically strong women working long hours in takeaways, waitressing, farming or as domestic helpers; mentally strong women who sacrifice time with their children to further their education, who fight tooth and nail in a patriarchal society. These are women with hard shells, who to the outside can seem mean, when in reality, there’s a lot more going on under the surface. These are the type of spiky women I find myself drawn to more and more as a writer. 

TOC of Nova Scotia Vol 2
TOC of Nova Scotia Vol 2

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